Mitigating electric car 'range anxiety'

The one thing that is always on the mind of drivers while buying a battery electric vehicle (BEV) is the range of the vehicle.

IANS| Updated: Mar 04, 2015, 15:36 PM IST

London: The one thing that is always on the mind of drivers while buying a battery electric vehicle (BEV) is the range of the vehicle.

Researchers call it "range anxiety" - the fear of becoming stranded with an empty battery. However, hands-on BEV experience can reduce drivers' stress, a new study finds.

"Range anxiety is a popular topic in the field of electric vehicles, and is frequently named as a key barrier for widespread adoption of BEVs," said study co-author Nadine Rauh, a research assistant in the Department of Cognitive and Engineering Psychology at Germany's Technische Universitat Chemnitz.

Rauh and fellow researchers asked 24 experienced and inexperienced BEV users to drive a test route through country roads, in villages, and on the German Autobahn.

To increase range stress, participants were told that because of an unexpected technical problem, the BEV was not fully charged.

When the vehicle's display showed that the remaining range was less than the anticipated trip length, experienced BEV drivers exhibited significantly less anxiety than did those who were unfamiliar with electric cars.

"Drivers who are new to BEVs can experience a lot of stress, but as time goes by they will become more confident in both the BEV's range and in their own abilities to manage any situations that may arise," said researchers.

The study was published in Human Factors.